From Costco to Whole Foods: Finding Healthy Food in America

From Costco to Whole Foods: Finding Healthy Food in America

by | Jun 4, 2013 | Food, Foods & Nutrition, Healthy Food for Busy People, Organic Food | 1 comment

Living on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia, we are fortunate to have several farmer’s markets and organic food shops and butchers very close to our home. So when we are traveling, it is always a challenge and adventure to find good quality food in our new destinations. We especially love food treasure hunting when we visit the other land of plenty: America.

Though we have lived in America and visited many times, we are always amazed with how much has changed in the food scene every time we visit. Our latest visit to Arizona, where we spent time with family, was no different. The demand for healthy food has continued to increase and suppliers are answering the demand with organic cafes, endless aisles of “healthy” packaged foods, and a continuing decrease in the price of organic whole foods (meats and veg). We found a huge variety of healthy food at reasonable prices, plenty of cheap and seductive junk food, and an increasing amount of fake food marketed as healthy.

Of course, the food in Arizona can not represent the whole diverse country of America. However, chain stores like Costco, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Natural Grocers are in many of the states of America and therefore may provide a true peek into what’s on offer around the country at these types of places. We just want to share with you some weird and wonderful foods that we came across on our latest visit.

Fake food marketed as health food

Multigrain tortilla chips not much healthier

Heavily processed GMO corn, soy, vegetable oils, sugar and flours mean these chips are no healthier.


Primal Strips Meatless Vegan Jerky

Flavoured gluten (wheat protein) sold as vegan jerky. Yikes!


Quiznos roast beef and cheddar sandwich

The ingredient list reveals this to be much more (toxic) than just a sandwich.


Brookside Dark Chocolate Acai Snack Not Healthy

Hershey’s candy sold as a superfood. These were in all the supermarkets AND health food stores.

Better Bad Choices

Organic free-trade dark chocolate, organic red wine, homemade baked goods, sweet potato chips and unrefined sugars are all examples of what we like to call “better bad” choices. Get the idea? We found lots of fun better bad goodies in America:

Golden Valley Natural Organic Beef Jerky

One of the best ingredient lists we found for beef jerky. This brand found at Natural Grocers health food chain.

– Local organic beers and gluten free beers (made from Sorghum grain)

Beef jerky: in regular supermarket chains and mini-marts, it was difficult to find beef jerky without such toxic ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup and monosodium glutamate, even on packages labeled organic or natural. However, there were some better options in health food markets, such as the one pictured to the right.

Snack bars: most of these “health bars” are made with highly processed ingredients are are void of nutrition and difficult to digest. The labeling can be deceiving, so always check the ingredient lists. This bar below has great intentions, but read the ingredients carefully and think about how much the foods would have to be processed to become powders.

Almond Butter Perfect Foods Bar

Definitely a Better Bad choice, as the ingredients are quite processed.
Found at Natural Grocers health food market, Prescott.

Bottled veggie juice and Yerba Mate Tea. It was great to see these juices with nothing in the ingredient lists but fruit and vegetables! However, plants are living things which quickly perish once cut and squeezed, so after sitting in a bottle for days, weeks and months, all that’s left is basically sugar water, not much in the way of nourishment. The best choice is freshly squeezed  juice, but these are definitely better bad, compared to most commercial juices. The tea is definitely a better bad drink, compared to a soft drink or the other teas that all had high fructose corn syrup!

Vital Veggies bottled vegetable juice

Nice try on a health drink, but veggies don’t live long enough. Found at Fresh ‘n’ Easy, which is really not so fresh.


Guayaki Yerba Mate Tea in a Can

It’s not fresh brewed tea, but for occasional convenience, this is a better bad choice found at many health food markets.

– Healthy chocolate: and it’s not dark! How nice to find a better bad WHITE chocolate bar. Raw with no dairy, too! Better better bad. 🙂 Found this one in New Frontiers Market in Prescott, Arizona.

Sacred Chocolate Bar White Chocolate with Lemon and Coconut

Fabulous Food Finds

These are the healthiest bars we found, and were very impressed at how raw they were! The seeds are sprouted traditionally, they are free of soy, and the foods are not heated to high temperatures, thus preserving the digestive enzymes and nutritional value of the food.

Go Raw Spirulina Bar

The same company, Go Raw, also makes these cookie snacks with the same quality ingredients and preparation. Both products were found in the awesome Natural Grocers in Prescott, which is a fast-growing health food store chain in America.

Go Raw Organic Cookies

Despite the war on raw milk in America, there is no shortage of raw cheese available to all. Yay!

Raw cheese aplenty in Arizona

Unpasteurised cow and goat cheese at New Frontiers Market, Prescott


Raw cheese from Trader Joes

Raw cheese combo from Trader Joes

Sprouted nuts! At home, we soak and dehydrate our nuts to neutralise the phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors that cause digestive problems and nutrient malabsorption. But to buy already soaked nuts in Sydney is very expensive. These were not only reasonably priced, but also mixed with real herbs and spices. Beautiful snack!

Gone Nuts Raw Sprouted Nuts

Sprouted nuts found at Natural Grocers health food market chain.

Organic cafes don’t stay in business very long in Sydney, but in Arizona, we found quite a few cafes and restaurants with organic produce, free range chicken, grass-fed meats, and healthy alternatives. This visit, we really enjoyed True Food in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Raven Cafe in Prescott, Arizona.

True Food Kids Menu

The healthiest kids menu we’ve seen.
From True Foods Kitchen!

Costco, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s

My family had huge punnets of strawberries and cherry tomatoes waiting for us – certified organic AND cheap! Plus big bags of wild caught flash-frozen fish, which we ate for many quick healthy meals. Organic frozen berries, canned fish, coconut oil – it was all from Costco! Check out Live Simply’s article about all the real food she buys at Costco.

Whole Foods always has lots of organic and local food, grass-fed and wild meats, a scrumptious cafe, and even a self-serve organic/local draught beer counter. Trader Joe’s is most loved for it’s organic packaged foods, much of which has only real ingredients and provide healthy convenience. Of course, all these stores also sell some junk foods and processed junk disguised as health food. Never assume that just because it’s from Whole Foods, it must be healthy. Always read ingredients and make wise choices, regardless of where you shop. The great thing about shopping at these stores and other health food markets is that you have so many better options!

What are some fabulous food finds you’ve encountered in your town or when traveling?

From Costco to Whole Foods: Finding Healthy Food in America – June 2013

Related Posts

How Beer and Coffee Affect Your Blood Quality

Brad and his friend Maz Compton show what effect beer and coffee instantly have on your blood. If you really love beer and coffee perhaps you shouldn’t watch this…

Why Breakfast Cereal Ruins Your Day…AND Your Health

Breakfast cereals provide little to no nutrition, are extremely indigestible, and this is what we attempt to fuel our bodies with first thing in the morning.

Vegetable Cheat Sheet L – Z

Common vegetables from L to Z!

Vegetable Cheat Sheet A – K

Common vegetables from A to K!

How Milk Became So Dangerous

The conflicting information is driving us all mad!! On the one hand we hear: Milk Does a Body Good!. It’s essential for calcium requirements, Vitamin D, strong bones and healthy children. On the other hand we hear: Milk causes mucus. It leads to lactose intolerance and ear infections. It’s too fatty. It contains Bovine Growth Hormone. Our societal response to this confusion is low-fat milk, skim milk, no-fat milk, soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, oat milk, organic milk, BGH-free milk, no milk. Just more confusion. So what’s gone wrong and where do we go from here?

I Dream of Organic Food in Greece!

After reading this, I’d hope you feel the same! As a an advocate of all things Primal, eating organic food is by far my favourite tenet I preach to people. Bex, Kaiya and I traveled through Greece for a month June 2014 and Couchsurfed for several days with a lady Natalia Merekoulia who co-managed an Organic Co-op called ‘ΣtoA’ (translates: ‘Store’) in Napflion, southwest of Athens.

What We Can Learn From The Mediterranean Diet

We’ve all heard about how healthy the Mediterranean Diet is, but besides lots of fish and olive oil, what actually makes it so healthy? Spending the last month in Greece, we found ourselves in real food heaven and discovered some of the real secrets behind this primal diet.

Are the Japanese the Healthiest People in the World?

According to the WHO stats, the Japanese are some of the longest living people in the world. But a long life doesn’t necessarily mean a healthy one. Personally, we would rather add life to our years than years to our life, so we like to study healthy people and copy what they do. Here’s what we found when we lived in and visited Japan and analysed their diet and lifestyle…

The Only Way to Eat Gluten-Free In Japan

Gluten-free in Japan? Good luck. Trying to avoid gluten in Japan is like trying to avoid glitter at Mardi Gras. It goes completely undetected until you get home and find glitter hiding in your hair and the folds of your clothes. Well, you can’t even imagine all the places that gluten hides in Japanese food…

Kombucha: Everyone is Doing It, Should You?

What is this weirdly-named drink that everyone is into lately? Kombucha, pronouced COMB-BOO-CHA, is the hottest drink in the health food shops and many people are even making it at home. But what actually is it and is it really that good for you?

Primal Easter Recipe Guide & some fun activities

from our family to yours, here’s a primal guide to having a healthy Easter. No sugar-crashes, indigestion, or tantrums. Just yummy food, healthy treats, and new traditions.

15-Minute Primal Gourmet Bacon-Wrapped Chicken & Vegetables

I’m a firm believer that in order to have healthy and delicious meals, you don’t need fancy recipes, special ingredients or a lot of time. All you need are quality real foods and a few tricks in the kitchen for making amazing food in little time. Here’s a perfect example: a gourmet looking and tasting dish using only basic ingredients, barely any cooking skills, and as little as 15 minutes. Let’s do it!

Primal Cleanse

Primal Cleanse

Blog Categories

Pruvit Keto Reboot – 60 Hours

Pruvit Keto Reboot

Ketosis, Ketosis and Keto OS!

Ketosis in 30min!


Related Results

Offers from the CHEK Community